Kate Savage

Fish Cheeks
NoHo, NYC
We've never doubled up on restaurants before in interviews, but Kate Savage is the exception. Not only is Kate Co-Founder of fried chicken-focused test kitchen Dubplate, but also Beverage Director at our Bond Street favorite, Fish Cheeks. Kate concocted some of her signature drinks, presenting us with finished products that were complete works of art. Our personal favorite? The Thank You Kha, a take on Tom kha kai (Thai coconut soup.) More on that, and Kate's culinary journey, below.
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Full name, age, where are you from?

Kate Savage, 24, Massachusetts.


What was growing up like for you and did you have family meals growing up?

I grew up cooking in the kitchen with my Dad, who, to this day is one of the most talented chefs I know. The man has a whole private collection of cookbooks - I’m talking hundreds - with one from every style, era and cuisine + Bon Appetit mags dating back to 1988. He was really the one who taught me how to learn from and appreciate other cultures through their food.


What meal, or beverage, most reminds you of your childhood?

Most of my food memories growing up revolve around summer; my Dad’s blueberry bourbon barbecue sauced ribs, bruschetta with tomatoes and basil from my Mom’s garden, corn from the local farm. Setting a beautiful table and eating outside with friends.

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Tell us a bit about your venture. What is your role and how did you get into this industry?

Right now I am working as the beverage director at Fish Cheeks on Bond st, where I recently introduced a new bar program and cocktail menu.  My goal with the menu was to use a hyper-focused palette of Thai flavors and ingredients in an exciting and unexpected way. A cheeky take on cocktail classics; even if that meant throwing some of the rules out the window.

Before that, I was a server at Fish Cheeks, with no bartending experience whatsoever. I gotta give a lot of credit to my boss Jenn who saw something in me and encouraged me to try out all my crazy ideas!


How has the pandemic affected you?

If we are looking at silver linings here, I would say it has really improved my chops in the kitchen. In the early days my boyfriend Matt and I spent so much time cooking and creating new dishes together -  we’d only leave the apartment to go to grocery store for more ingredients.

We basically ~ had ~ to start our side-hustle / friend chicken sandwich racket, Dubplate NYC, just to have a place to share all of our new ideas!


What do you think working in this industry during this time has taught you?

I think working in the industry during a pandemic has really showed me what a vital role we play in making New York City what it is. Being a part of such a beloved place like Fish Cheeks is a constant reminder of just how much of a comfort great food can be.

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What's your favorite dish and drink on the menu?

My favorite drink and dish changes all the time. Right now, it’s gotta be the fried fish, a butterflied rainbow trout that just curls up beautifully into itself in the fryer, before getting topped with a big herby salad and a pickled garlic sauce. Summer food.

I’ve also really been loving my savory cocktails lately. There’s something about how the Nam Gin Martini and the Panang Negroni pair with the food that’s really special. But I’d have to say my favorite is the Thank You Kha- a white rum cocktail inspired by Tom kha soup, with coconut, fresh galangal juice and housemade lemongrass and makrut lime bitters. It’s garnished with little dots of chili oil and julienned makrut lime leaf, so each one comes out unique. The most common feedback I get from customers is that they’ve “never had anything like it”, which to me, is just so satisfying.

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What was the first restaurant you couldn’t wait to eat out at post-vaccine?

To be completely honest, I was most excited to get a home-cooked meal from my Dad and also my boyfriend’s mother. Those aforementioned Ribs, and Matt’s moms’ dumplings... let me tell you, they do not disappoint.


Anything exciting coming up for you?

Since y’all interviewed Matt about Dubplate we’ve switched our model and are now doing monthly pop-ups around the city. Our next event will be the first time we are doing a full menu and a cocktail special!

Beyond that... Jenn and I have been scheming lately, hopefully we’ll have some news to share about the future soon!

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